MMO2141 - Post-medieval drainage ditches on The Chains (Monument)

Summary

An area of regular post-medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs. They were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at improvement, probably after Frederic Knight took over the estate in 1841.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

An area of regular post-medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs on moorland to the northeast of Chains Barrow, Exmoor. The ditches were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at improvement, probably after Frederic Winn Knight took over the estate in 1841. Centred at approximately SS 7409 4189, the ditches run east to west across a northeast facing slope above Long Chains Combe; however they do not appear to drain into this combe. The ditches are mostly cut in straight parallel lines, curving slightly to the south at the western end, and cover an area of approximately 35 hectares. The whole area around The Chains is particularly boggy and peat covered, and it seems likely that the ditches were cut to drain the area prior to it being enclosed. According to Orwin, many miles of drainage ditches were cut by Frederic Knight across parts of Exmoor, but in some areas failed to provide adequate drainage for the land to be enclosed [2]. Large areas of Exmoor were successfully drained, although it appears that this area, which is still open and boggy moorland was not one of them. Other similar ditches are visible in the surrounding areas, some draining into natural streams and water courses, others appearing to drain into Pinkery Canal. Many of the ditches are associated with areas of peat cutting. [1-4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 3150-51 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. PP 32-33.
  • <3> Monograph: Riley, H. and Wilson-North, R.. 2001. The Field Archaeology of Exmoor. English Heritage. pp 138-139.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182. [Mapped feature: #32920 ]

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 7401 4180 (931m by 521m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS74SW
Civil Parish EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW173
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1470344

Record last edited

Oct 6 2020 4:25PM

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